The 457 visa is a Temporary Skilled Work visa, allowing the nominated individual to work in Australia for up to 4 years for a sponsor. The sponsor is their employer, who pays a fee to Immigration to keep an overseas worker working for them. This is generally beneficial if the employer can’t find a suitably skilled Australian. After the 4 years the employee may have the option to transition to a permanent visa.
However, recently there have been many problems with visa holders and employers not honouring the conditions of the 457 visa.
- Unpaid Leave – In order to get approved for a 457 visa, the employer and employee must agree in a contract the amount they will be paid and how long the employment is for. In some situations, this is breached by the employee taking unpaid leave from their nominated employer. This voids the conditions of the visa and sponsorship.
Unpaid leave is of course available for Australian employees; however 457 are required to be paid constantly so it is in breach of visa condition.
- Working elsewhere – Similarly, once they are granted their visa employees often leave and begin working for someone else – for whatever reason. This is also against the terms of their visa being granted and means they are working illegally.
Even their 457 employees working during holidays or after contracted hours for their approved sponsor is still illegal. Also when businesses change their ABN, it must be reported to immigration. This is the most common mistake we see. Businesses change their ABN for example, from Solo Trader to PTY LTD. or there is a change in directors, even within a family and the ABN would change. On the surface, the business looks the same, employees may not be even aware of the changes – for Immigration it is a change that they have to be notified of.
- Under paying – Employers are sometimes just as guilty in breaching visa conditions. One example of this is underpaying their sponsored worker. When the visa is granted it is based on the employment contract issued, stating the hours their employee will have to work and what they will pay them for that. Employers sometimes underpay their staff or make them work unreasonable overtime with no additional pay. This again breaches the visa as they are not adhering to the conditions for which the visa was granted.
Also Sponsors are not allowed to recupe money they spent on Sponsorship and Nomination of their employee, so deducting that or any other fees from wages, not outlined in their contract is prohibited.
- Not paying training – When an employee sponsors a worker under a 457 visa, under the conditions they are required to pay for suitable training for their Australian employee’s. If they do not have any Australian employees they have to pay a small percentage of their total salary payments towards the training of Australians. Often, once the visa has been approved employers neglect the condition of paying for trainings.
Ultimately, this may result in Sponsorship rights of the employer being suspended or cancelled and for the employee it would mean no option for Permenant residency through transitional sponsorship.
457 visa monitoring.
Due to all these breaches and loopholes people find in relation to 457 visa’s, the Immigration department introduced a monitoring system. In this they have the right to monitor the activities of 457 sponsors (the employees) to check whether they are using their position fairly and following employment laws. If a company or is found to be breaching the rights of that visa they have the right to cancel the visa, meaning the visa holder has to leave Australia and takeaway sponsorship rights from the companies.
So learn from other peoples mistakes and don’t get caught out breaching visa guidelines.